Hackers are a problem these days. Indeed, all sorts of people involved in financial transactions and the financial industry itself have to be ever vigilant about hackers. Banks, credit unions, mortgage lenders, title insurers, and others are constantly on the lookout for wire fraud. In New Jersey, for instance, the state’s banking regulator, the New Jersey Dept. of Banking and Insurance, recently warned these aforementioned entities to keep an eye on real estate transactions because hackers are trying to steal mortgage funds during transactions. If it’s a concern to New Jersey, it should be a national concern.
Hacking funds is a criminal act, but it’s often hard to catch the criminals and recover the money. Wire transfers involving small business owners and consumers are at risk– and with millions of dollars related to mortgage loans being transferred daily, this is a big deal. Obviously, safeguarding these transfers is imperative.
Threats aren’t new. Two years ago, the Federal Trade Commission and the National Association of Realtors had to warn against fake title insurance companies and realtors trying to steal home buyers’ closing costs. More recently, the American Land Title Association wanted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to issue a similar warning. And now New Jersey is involved in warning people about scammers, hackers and fakes.
By the way, what is actually happening? Typically, it involves emails whereas normal wiring instructions get changed to get the consumer to divert mortgage funds to the hackers instead of the intended recipient(s). These schemes can also include malware and phishing, as well as phone calls.
If you are involved in transactions involving money, you should always verify email addresses, avoid web-based email, utilize a confirmation process involving verbal communication over the phone or in person, as well as familiarize yourself with normal wire transfer activity such that you can spot unusual or suspicious variations.
Reliable Lien Search goes the extra mile to protect our clients from fraud. We safeguard their trust/escrow account checks, and we shred them. Even though we aren’t a regulated business, and don’t have to go the extra mile, we wonder how many of our comps actually do the same. For more info regarding this issue, call us at 954-447-6947.